With a population of 1.4 billion people, Africa’s demand for smartphones, internet, the good things of life, is growing at a rapid pace. Many of these, including education, health, would need to be financed with credit.
However, access to credit continues to be a challenge which becomes a barrier for the young woman in Accra from realizing her dreams and the lad in Kampala from going to the school of his choice.
With expertise in banking, technology, and payments, and a background in engineering, Adedeji Olowe, Founder and CEO of Lendsqr understands how foundational systems become the catalyst for growth. Hence the opportunity to spur the growth of the African economy by being a lending infrastructure provider across Africa.
“We have witnessed the rise of digital lenders in Africa, particularly Nigeria and Kenya. This is driven by the massive adoption of smartphones, the continual reduction in the cost of internet data, and the relentless push of financial inclusion by central banks and fintechs going to the last mile with agency networks,” Olowe said.
While some of this growth has been driven by COVID-19 over the last two years, experts are unanimous in the belief that the changes are a signal of future growth for Africans.
Africans continue to struggle to get credit, and when they get it, the interest rates charged are usually high. While technology and access to data powering the process can solve these problems, Olowe says lenders lack access to quality data and sustainable technology. And even when those are available, they are so expensive that even Venture Capital (VC) backed lenders can hardly afford them.
Lendsqr has built integrations to some payment processors, as well as leading credit bureaus, and transactional data providers. According to Olowe, these integrations and ecosystem play are often extremely difficult to pull off, providing Lendsqr with a unique opportunity to position itself at the confluence of credit and what people use credit for – shopping, health, cashflow, among others.
By enabling smaller lenders to scale up, Lendsqr is guaranteeing Africans, starting with Nigerians, access to credit that would create a long-term, consequently expanding economy in the coming years.
“And this approach isn’t strange. We’ve seen the humble WordPress power 37 percent of global web pages despite large content owners like CNN, WaPo, etc. Shopify and Etsy power global e-commerce despite the might of Amazon and eBay. Lendsqr will power thousands of lenders who want simple, affordable, and smart but invisible tech to lend to millions of Africans,” Olowe said.
Over the last couple of years, Lendsqr has helped over 1,000 Nigerians have access to credit while helping lenders reach at a unique scale and with technology previously found with only the highest funded VC backed lenders.
Since March 1, 2022, Lendsqr has been making the same technology available to lenders for free. Any lender can sign up and start disbursing loans to their first customers within five minutes.
“I’m excited to be part of this ecosystem of lenders, partners, data providers as we begin our journey to use technology, data, and partnerships to guarantee credit for every man and woman in Africa and beyond,” Olowe said.